Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Duplicity Movie Poster Image
Clever, complex romantic thriller is too twisty for tweens.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Corporate epsionage is portrayed as a dirty business, with rival companies routinely undermining each other by using spies to try to steal new ideas.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The lead characters are more than willing to do whatever's necessary to make millions of dollars, and CEOs are portrayed as willing to break all kinds of laws (like hiring special departments to break and enter, steal, and possibly kill) in order to give their companies an edge.


Menacing but humorous confrontation between two titans of industry. Slightly disturbing scene of a character who has obviously been sedated and another who's temporarily gagged and blinded. Security team discusses how "to deal" with possible spies in the company.


A lot of sexual chemistry and conversation between Ray and Claire. They make love off camera, but the audience does see them kissing in bed on several occasions, and usually both of them have bare shoulders, legs, and backs. Ray walks out of the bathroom in just a towel. Steamy conversation includes asides about "rug burn," "turned on," and "legs in the air."


Words like "bulls--t," "s--t," "cojones," and "a--hole" are used occasionally. Other potentially offensive expressions include "goddamn," "for Christ's sake," "oh my God," and "swinging d--k."


Most of the products and companies featured are fictional, so there's no overt consumerism in the film.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults are shown enjoying champagne, wine, and cocktails at dinner, a celebration, a bar, and a hotel.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this caper film isn't a tween-friendly romantic comedy. Although it's both romantic and comedic, it's also a cerebral spy thriller with so many twists that even some adults will be confused. And although the main characters are appealing and sympathetic, the truth is that they're ruthless corporate spies. They're often shown right before and after making love (bare-shouldered, and, in Clive Owen's case, bare-chested). They also discuss their sex life with innuendo and jokes about "legs in the air" and such. There isn't much violence aside from a humorous fight between two CEOs, but there's occasional strong language ("bulls--t," "goddamn," "d--k"), and drinking (all by adults).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytweetyb210 March 23, 2009
The chemistry between Roberts and Owen was ok, I could see Clooney in Owens spot t]even better. I enjoyed the wordplay between them and their duplitcious think... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written byaz March 22, 2009

Not a movie for your teen or tween...

Definitely not a family-friendly movie - it has a lot of sexual innuendo and swearing. Also, the plot was a bit cumbersome and hard to follow, even for an adul... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byYeah. February 27, 2011

Check out my page for other great recommendations.

I'm not here to give a review because if it shows up on my page its a 5 star movie and so therefore you know what i think about it.
Teen, 13 years old Written bymasonlackey January 15, 2011

intricate plot only older kids will like it

now when i say iffy for 11 im talking about the content in the movie they probably wouldnt like it id say about 14 and up will actually enjoy the movie i know i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Mixing true romance and corporate espionage, director Tony Gilroy's DUPLICITY follows the dealings and double-dealings of former MI-6 agent Ray (Clive Owen) and his one-time lover, Claire (Julia Roberts), a former CIA spook. Each hatches a plan to use their spy skills in the private sector by working for rival consumer-goods corporations (think Procter & Gamble and Unilever) run by business nemeses Richard Garsik (Paul Giamatti) and Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson). Ray and Claire's end game is to sell an extremely valuable top-secret formula to the highest bidder -- but, like the title implies, it's never clear who's gaming who.

Is it any good?

Reuniting Closer co-stars Roberts (who, as a mother of three, is incredibly picky about her roles now) and Owen is pure genius. They sizzle on both a cerebral and physical level, and their banter is a throwback to 1940s screwball comedies. Joining the irresistible pair are Giamatti and Wilkinson, both of whom are hilariously perfect as titans of industry. Giamatti's character is a charismatic, winner-take-all CEO, while Wilkinson's is a classy, Zen-master leader (he even writes with a fountain pen!).

Gilroy is clearly interested in America as a Corporatocracy. As in his debut film Michael Clayton, Gilroy again explores the evils that powerful companies are capable of -- but this time he also injects a heavy dose of romance and humor to balance out the suspense and drama. The result is an impressively crafted, topsy-turvy romantic thriller/drama/comedy that stars two pros at on-screen chemistry.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why caper/heist movies are so appealing, even when the characters are breaking the law. How do filmmakers get us rooting for the crooks?

  • How would you feel about people who do what the characters do in real life?

  • Do you think the idea of no-holds-barred corporate espionage is believable?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills and romance

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